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  • Elleven Salon

Makeup Brushes 101

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

What if we told you that you could actually find out how to easily use all the brushes in your brush set? If you're anything like most of us, you have a choice few that you use and never really touch the rest of them. We're here to give you a crash course in navigating the purpose of each brush and how to use them. By the end of this article, you'll be able to successfully use each one and step up your makeup game and reveal your true peak beauty!

Face Brushes

Concealer Brush

These are used to hide dark circles, redness, or blemishes, especially in hard-to-reach areas like the inner corner of eyes. These come in small, rounded shapes that buff and blend. Always remember to use an eye moisturizer first! Consider using the concealer's wand to apply it to the concealer brush first instead of directly onto your face. To apply under your eyes, dab a small amount of concealer starting in the inner-eye area and pat across the undereye area until blended. Never swipe or smear. Chances are you'll end up with a very unflattering texture that can also leave creases. To use on problem areas, follow the same steps, applying a small amount onto each spot and dabbing until it's fully blended.

Foundation Brush

Foundation brushes can be flat or rounded, but they are always densely packed to blend smoothly for an airbrushed finish. Always use moisturizer before applying for a even result. Use light strokes to blend the foundation into your skin for the best result. When you use a good foundation brush, you'll notice an instant difference not only in your makeup application, but also the state of your makeup throughout the day.

Powder Brush

These are round and fluffy, and as you can guess, are typically used to apply powder. These aren't as densely packed to prevent excess product from the face. If you invest in a good powder brush, you can use it for bronzer, finishing powder, or even blush if you opt for the smaller ones. Their soft bristles blend the makeup evenly to create natural-looking coverage. Use the bristles to pick up a fine layer of loose or pressed powder, tap it to remove excess, and dust over t-zone and under eyes. This way it's buildable, and you don't start out with too much.

Kabuki Brush

These have very short handles and dense hairs. They can be used to apply liquid foundation or even body makeup with medium-to-full coverage. Use the bristles to pick up the product, then gently swirl and buff. The density makes it perfect for a fuller-coverage finish. Kabuki brushes are often known as the do-it-all brushes because they can blend out foundation, buff in cheek color or bronzer, and apply finishing powders.

Bronzer + Blush Brush

A bronzer/blush brush has fluffier bristles than a foundation brush and typically has a more rounded or oval brush head. It's designed to add some color and brightness to your skin, whether you're applying bronzer, blush, or both. It’s your one-stop-shop for a sun-kissed glow or fresh-faced rosy look. Look for one with super soft and fluffy bristles to get the best result. Apply bronzer all over face with circular motions. To apply blush, start at the apples of cheeks and brush upward diagonally.

Eye Shadow & Brow Brushes

All-Over Eye Shadow Brush

These are extremely user-friendly, whether you're a beginner or a pro. These are great for getting the hang of applying eye shadow and getting the result you envision, not to mention it's great to learn blending. These are rounded, small, and stubby brushes that are amazing for applying upper-eyelid shadow or shadow primer, but work well for lower lids also once you get the hang of it.

To use, dip in your pigmented eye shadow, tap excess, and apply colors to the proper area of the eyelid. If you use a windshield wiper approach, you'll probably have the best luck when starting out. If you're looking for an even more pigmented look to get closer to the shade in the palette, apply water to the brush before using.

Angled Brush

These are absolutely crucial to perfect brows as well as precision when creating a cat-eye liner look. These brushes are angled and dense. For brows, dip into brow product and make tiny strokes to fill in any sparse spots and shape your arches. To use as an eyeliner brush, dip brush into eye shadow product, line the upper lash line, and flick it out into a wing if you're feel adventurous. You can go over it with a liquid liner or pencil to seal it in for all day wear.

Crease Brush

These brushes are tapered, fluffy brushes. The bristles taper so that it can apply eye shadow directly on the crease, with the shorter, outer bristles blending the edges. This adds absolutely amazing dimension to eyes and creates a beautiful contrast between colors. To use, dip in an eye shadow color that is a little darker than what you used on your eyelids. In the natural crease of your eye, make sweeping motions in one direction to apply the crease color. When you're finished, make sure to use a different brush to blend the colors.

Now it's time to start practicing those skills! You'll be shocked at how much your makeup game will improve. Now you're on your way to achieving those amazing looks you see all over Instagram. Get ready to meet the new you!

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